Reply to Covenant Theology, Oct 1, 2009
1.) We don't pay tithes to Levites and Priests, but those who minister the gospel are to live off of the gospel "in the same way". So all of your arguments against the Levitical Priesthood are irrelevant.
Russ: See my blog. Your argument is self-defeating because it opens the door for every single type of sustenance included in 9:13. www. russkellyphd.blogspot.com
2.) We don't pay the same kind of tithe that was paid to Levites, but we pay a "superior" tithe to the High Priest Christ, just as Abraham did (1/10).
Russ: In over 10 years of reading tithing arguments you are THE ONLY ONE to argue that Abraham's tithe was SUPERIOR to the Levitical tithe. The point of Hebrews 7 is that Christ's priesthood is SUPERIOR. Are you actually arguing that tithes from pagan spoils of war are superior to tithes from inside God's holy land of Israel?
3.) Jesus commanded tithing.
Russ: Jesus was living under the jurisdiction of the law. He would have sinned if he had not commanded tithing. The hermeneutics of the text itself (Mt 23:23) demands that you explain it in the context of "matters of the law." Jesus could not have commanded his Gentile converts to tithe. Jesus also commanded full obedience to the ritual of the law. Why do you ignore that and include tithing?
4.) Your arguments against Old Covenant ceremonial laws are irrelevant, since tithing is not a ceremonial law, nor was it tied only to the Mosaic Covenant. (See Abraham above).
Russ: Tithing very assuredly is part of the ceremonial law as seen in Leviticus 27, Numbers 18 and Deuteronomy 12, 14 and 26. Have you cut these chapters out of your Bible?
5.) If you mean that Christ has abolished the moral law as well, you are wrong. It lasts "forever" (Deuteronomy 29:29, Psalm 119:160), until heaven and earth has passed away (Matthew 5:18). One who continuously, purposely disobeys God's law is not born again (Ezekiel 36:26-27, 1 John 2:3-5). So I am in no bind as far as which commandments to obey. All of the moral laws (including tithing) are to be kept. The ceremonial laws (circumcision, animal sacrifices, etc.) have been fulfilled. We actually still keep these laws, but in their substance rather than their shadows.God's law is only legalistic if we use it as a means of our justification.Russ: I know of no church which teaches that Jesus abolished the moral law. According to Romans 2:14-16, the moral law was even revealed to the Gentiles through nature and conscience. You cannot correctly define what you mean when you use the words "law" and "moral law." Do you believe that the U.S. abrogated all of the English law when the Declaration of Independence was signed? I do --even the good and moral parts no longer applied as English law. God repeated that part of the eternal moral law which applies to the Church in the New Covenant.
6.) The tithe is the Lord's, not the priest's. Therefore the priesthood is irrelevant, and we are to render to God that which is God's.
Russ: Why do you only read the last five verses of Leviticus and ignore all of the other 27 chapters where almost everything is called either "holy" or "most holy" to the Lord? You seem to pick and choose only that which serves your goals.
Numbers 18 says that God has given the tithe to the Levites and priests for their service in the sanctuary. It was the Lord's and the Lord gave it to them. Next he forbade them from owing property. How many preachers do that?